New PETA Exposé Includes Damning Findings From Indiana Petco Stores

Dead and Ailing Betta Fish Found During Visits to 11 Indiana Stores; Retailer Urged to End Sales

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382


As part of its nationwide campaign urging Petco to end its notoriously inhumane sales of betta fish, PETA is releasing a new video exposé revealing that listless, sick, and dead bettas were found floating in tiny, barren plastic containers with low water levels at Petco stores across the country, including 11 locations in Indiana. In response to the findings, PETA’s president sent an urgent letter to the retailer’s CEO, Ron Coughlin, today calling for an immediate end to the chain’s betta fish sales.

PETA eyewitnesses uncovered rampant, systemic neglect of these vulnerable fish while visiting more than 100 Petco locations—including in Indianapolis and Carmel, where dead bettas were found in two stores, obviously ailing ones were found in two stores, and water contaminated by old food and feces was found in six stores. A Bloomington employee admitted that “a lot” of fish arrive at the store already sick, adding, “When they … get shipped, they get stressed out a lot just because … they’re not in a tank. They’re in a bag. With fish, stress induces a lot more illness than even in people, and in people stress can cause a lot of problems. But fish—even more so.”

“Betta fish are complex, vulnerable little animals who are being left to languish in filthy water and denied care for sickness, to the horror of decent Petco staff and customers,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s disturbing findings have revealed widespread suffering at Petco stores across the country, and the company needs to end betta fish sales immediately.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that betta fish are often starved for days during transport to stores and that many die in transit. Scores of Petco customers have reported finding dead, sick, and injured bettas floating in filthy water on the store’s shelves.

Broadcast-quality video footage from PETA’s exposé is available here. For more information, please visit

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